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Microsoft's open-source rhetoric remains dangerously inconsistent
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 23 November 2007 09:17

Microsoft's open-source rhetoric remains dangerously inconsistent

By Ryan Paul | Published: November 22, 2007 - 06:57PM CT
ARS Technica

In a recent interview, Microsoft's Bill Hilf talked about the company's strategy for using and competing with open-source software. Hilf, a former Linux technical strategist for IBM, was originally brought in by Microsoft to head up their opensource projects but is currently Microsoft's general manager of Windows Server marketing. Can Hilf shine any light on what Microsoft is really up to?

Hilf has developed a reputation for espousing controversial opinions about Linux and open-source software. In the past, Hilf has claimed that "the Free Software movement is dead," and "Linux doesn't exist in 2007." Hilf shares more comparably dubious insights during his recent interview, while at the same time dancing around all the issues.

"I think a lot of people get lost in the software, the source code part of it. What we've been doing strategically is try to figure out how do we participate in that community as a good citizen so that we're in that sort of same value chain," Hilf told InformationWeek.

Sounds good, doesn't it? But being a good citizen means not threatening your neighbors. Unlike Microsoft, an increasing number of companies which sell open and closed source products that leverage open-source technologies are committing broadly to not assert their patents against the open-source software ecosystem. In contrast, Microsoft will not make patent grants or commit to resolving interoperability issues with the open-source software community as a whole... More    Comments in the Forums

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